Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sources are the keys to unlocking the seventh United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which calls for universal access to “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy”. Through its Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), the Dominican Republic has committed to taking concrete action towards the sustainable development of a future society that satisfies humanity’s needs in an environmentally-conscious way. MEM partnered with TAPSEC to make great strides towards this goal, enabling the Dominican Republic to become one of CARIFORUM’s most advanced countries in terms of renewable energy penetration in the process.

As the Ministry with responsibility for the sustainable development of the nation’s energy sector, MEM focuses in part on formulating policies to guide the efficient use of energy, the development of alternative energy resources and the maintenance of a reliable energy infrastructure. Following a 2018 planning meeting, the Ministry began collaborating with TAPSEC to implement a number of interrelated and groundbreaking projects designed to create a favourable sustainable energy environment for its people. The ultimate aim of this collaboration was to strengthen the Dominican Republic’s regulatory frameworks, improve its energy information network, increase the capacity for providing technical services and create financing mechanisms for projects that would allow for the national development of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Outlining the impacts of the cooperative relationship, Charles De La Rosa, Director of Renewable Energy at MEM, says TAPSEC has helped “to guarantee the use of energy efficiency and a greater participation of local renewable energy sources”, bringing the Dominican Republic that much closer to that seventh SDG.  He describes TAPSEC’s wider impacts on the regional sustainable energy transition as positive, noting the Programme’s efforts to help increase universal access to electricity, mitigate environmental deterioration through energy efficient and renewable technology and reduce poverty conditions and vulnerability to climate change.

Looking back on the strides made thus far, Mr. De La Rosa offers a key piece of advice for other CARIFORUM countries aiming to make similar progress: planning is key. Describing the Dominican Republic’s experience as one of learning while executing, he notes that careful planning for the integration of new technologies is key for a smooth transition to CARIFORUM’s sustainable energy future.

MEM Sustainable Energy Project Highlights

Grid Codes for Variable Renewable Energy

In pursuit of the diversification of energy resources, TAPSEC facilitated MEM’s engagement with consultants tasked with guiding the preparation of the nation’s first grid codes for Variable Renewable Energy (VRE). With the eventual implementation of these codes, the drafts of which are currently being reviewed by the Superintendence of Electricity, the Dominican Republic’s energy sector will be able to incorporate intermittent energy sources such as wind, solar, tidal and hydroelectric power without compromising the quality and security of the national energy supply.Therefore, once approved, these codes would serve as the technical standard for the connection and operation of the Dominican Republic’s first-ever renewable power plants. 

Energy Efficiency Laws

To further encourage the integration of renewable energy, consultants were also brought on to assist with the creation of a draft law on energy efficiency, which is designed to encourage the integration of renewable energy by reforming the energy sector’s existing legislation. The aim is to restructure inter-agency systems to allow for streamlined processes for permits, certifications and licences for renewable energy and energy efficiency imports. Currently before the Congress, this draft law is designed to enable a welcoming regulatory atmosphere for local and international investors to establish their renewable energy and energy efficiency operations within the Dominican Republic.

ISO Certifications

As part of the effort to ensure the creation of a high-quality renewable energy and energy efficiency infrastructure, TAPSEC assisted MEM with interpreting two global energy standards developed by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). The ISO50001:2015 provides a framework for implementing an energy management system, which will assist with improving energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact. The ISO50002:2014 outlines the requirements for conducting energy audits to gauge energy performance. With these two certifications in hand, the Dominican Republic’s energy sector will be ready to effectively incorporate new sustainable energy resources.

Renewable Energy Theme Park

To build capacity and raise awareness of the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency, TAPSEC supported the establishment of the Renewable Energy Theme Park (PTER) in Santo Domingo, Juan Bosh City. This interactive facility houses six immersive stations, each of which illustrates different renewable energy generation technologies: the water station, air station, sun station, biomass station, leisure & exercise station and rural applications station. Visitors can benefit from guided tours with trained staff, getting hands-on experience with the technologies that will serve as the foundation of the Dominican Republic’s sustainable energy future. The facility itself is also climate resilient, thanks to an energy storage system consisting of three 5.5kW hybrid inverters and 40 AGM batteries.

See more about PTER here

Sabana Real Pilot Project

With financial support from TAPSEC, MEM has partnered with Enestar, Edesur Dominicana  S.A., the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development and the Agricultural Cooperative of Multiple Services La Bella to provide the remote community of Sabana Real with a microgrid photovoltaic (PV) system through the Energy Transition project. This pilot project aims to provide a sustainable and resilient power supply to the community in the form of a 55.2 kWp PV power plant and a 245 kWh battery system. The upgrade will, in turn, facilitate the construction of a communication tower that will provide internet and telephone services to Sabana Real.